Learning resumed Monday morning as Grade 4, Class Eight and Form Four students arrived back in class following seven months of closure over Covid-19.
As had been directed by the Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha last week, schools reopened their doors in strict conformity to the health safety protocols. Speaking at Olympic Primary School in Nairobi, where he assessed the schools reopening, Prof Magoha said that all learners were expected in class regardless of their situation. He appealed to the schools to accept all the learners including those who had not paid their school fees adding that sending them back would be infringement on their rights.
“I have said that as we comply with government requirements…for the boarding schools where boarding charges are charged…may I plead with our principals to ensure that no child is sent home on account of school fees both public and private schools,” Magoha said, as he addressed the press after during the tour.
He then fired another warning against the private schools that had rolled out online learning during the Covid-19 holiday. According to him, all learners must begin from where they left before the Covid-19 interruption. In this regard, he warned against rejecting students who may have failed to register for the online classes saying any school doing that will attract penalties.
“For the private schools where some people have tried to equate reopening with those who had online classes, we want to make it very clear, that all children will start from where they left. If you send a child home because the child did not register for online classes, then that is criminal. We shall come for you,” he said, as he fired a warning.
The CS would then concur with the Secretary-General of Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Wilson Sossion as he pleaded with schools to accept learners who fell pregnant.
With teenage pregnancy emerging as a thorny issue during the Covid-19 break, the CS requested that such learners should not be discriminated against. He said the girls would be allowed in school before and after delivery. He vowed harsh legal action against people who impregnated the girls.
“For those children who are pregnant, as we deal with criminals, may I assure them that they have nothing to fear. They should come back to school. When the time comes they should be given the opportunity to go and give birth and after weaning they should come back and continue with learning,” Magoha said.
The phased reopening of schools began with the order by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) which directed teachers to report back to schools and prepare the calendar for the studies. Last week, the Prof Magoha announced the resumption of studies for Grade 4, Class Eight and Form Four learners ahead of 11 weeks of study. They will then break for one week holiday before resuming another learning period of 11 weeks ahead of KCSE and KCPE examinations.